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New million dollar health care complex at Bequia

New million  dollar health  care complex  at Bequia

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“…It belongs to all of us, not to any single one of us. We are all responsible for taking good care of it, and for making sure that it lasts… and the benefits go well into the future!”

This was the assertion of Dr Godwin Friday, the Parliamentary Representative for the Northern Grenadines, as he spoke at the opening {{more}}ceremony of the Port Elizabeth Health Complex in Bequia, last Thursday.

The 16-bed health care facility, which was reopened after the refurbishment and expansion of the previously existing hospital and construction of a new clinic, now includes a pharmacy, dental clinic, Accident and Emergency Department, maternity and paediatric wards and consultation offices.

Additionally, with water storage being a major issue at the old facility, the refurbishment now allows for the capacity to store 85,000 gallons of water.

“It is a very happy occasion when we have a new facility… for the benefit of the community,” enthused Friday.

Darran Newman, Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) portfolio manager at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), echoed this sentiment as she delivered her address at the ceremony.

“Better access to health care saves lives, builds communities and strengthens economies,” Newman explained.

“This upgrade of the Port Elizabeth Health Complex improves the quality of health care and quality of life in the Northern Grenadines, and brings health services within the reach of the people on these islands.”

This venture was funded by the CDB under the Sixth BNTF Programme, which was approved in July 2010. The clinic, which cost just under EC$761,870, was completed in March 2013. Work began on the hospital in August 2013, and to date cost a total of $1,127,000 – an $878,000 grant from the CDB, and almost $250,000 from the Government.

There were plans to include an operating theatre, recovery room and laboratory at the health care centre, but this could not be facilitated at the time. However, the design of the hospital is such that expansion to include these can be accommodated in future without having to disrupt the operations of the hospital or clinic.

Describing the CDB’s financial involvement as an “investment into the social and economic development of St Vincent and the Grenadines,” Newman commended the Government for its commitment to the improvement of access to “quality health services for all citizens.”

Also delivering remarks at the ceremony were Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment Clayton Burgin, and deputy director for Grenadines Affairs Herman Belmar.

Burgin said that the Government, through his Ministry, has made a “firm commitment” to modernize the national health sector through its Wellness Revolution, and not only focuses on care, but also on “preventative steps through healthier lifestyle decisions.

“One of the strategies employed by the Ministry of Health… is to partner with organizations and/or individuals who can assist the Ministry in meeting its own mandate,” he explained.

Burgin noted that the Government intends to continue establishing relationships with local, regional and international organizations, so that it can further develop the local health care sector.

“The Grenadine islands are not omitted from this expansion!” he pointed out.

The Health Minister noted that a new doctor’s living quarters was recently handed over in Canouan; and that a complete staff quarters is being constructed in Union Island.

In his address, Herman Belmar emphasized the need for community cooperation in projects such as these – recounting the ups and downs in progression of the health care complex.

“As a team, we made it happen; as a team, we can make our community work… If we are to survive as a people, we must get rid of the entitlement attitude,” implored Belmar.

“We must develop once more in our community an attitude of gratitude. We must build back community spirit, and a spirit and willingness to serve others.”

Friday said that like many of Bequia’s residents, the old hospital in Bequia holds a special connection for him, because his mother worked there for several years, providing aftercare to patients.

“When it was being torn down, in a sense it was tearing down some of those memories. But we know it is all for the better!”

He further explained: “History helps to shape institutions such as this. It provides motivation to others who follow, so that they, too, will be motivated to give up their best.”

Friday also noted that whilst a building is “full of potential and possibilities,” it is down to people involved in dispensing health care to realize the said potential.

“Yours is a difficult job – in fact, it is a calling…”

He urged health care providers to always give their best, and to treat patients with “dignity and respect” at all times. (JSV)

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